Every time. EVERY time! Every time I make a recipe like this with a freaking monster title I feel so guilty and like I need to apologize… Which I probably don’t. You’d probably be okay with it if I just let it rock on up there like run-on sentence in all its glory. But, I’m being that person. I feel weird! Should I have named this TIGER SOUP!? I’m not sure how that’s applicable, but there are always crazy names for dishes that I’m never quite sure how they relate… Maybe this should be spicy asian tum yum? Tum for tummy and yum for yummy, obviously. I’m well aware I’m going absolutely crazy here.
I did consider naming this “spicy ginger tea soup” because the broth really is similar to tea I order/make often here in Bali: fresh lemongrass and ginger, both of which are in this soup, and fresh turmeric and honey — neither of which are in this soup. IT’S SO DARN GOOD. I added some garlic, chili, and salt to make it a bit more savory and less tea-like, but it definitely has the same ancestors!
Surprisingly, this soup is really quick to make. It has a few separate componenets — tofu, mushrooms, and broth — but while the broth is simmering (for about 15 minutes) you can complete the other parts and then you have a yummy, light, delicious, flavorful, UH-MAZING soup on your hands! I’m sensing a new addition to my weekly lineup. What am I talking about… I don’t really have a weekly lineup anymore — it’s always a bit unplanned and crazy here!
On that topic — the blog, specifically — I’ve been having lots of thoughts lately. Since I was basically MIA the last six weeks (at least in my head, not doing much work here except barely keeping up with my two/three posts per week), I’m really eager to jump back in and get back to blogging. This is my JOB. This is what I do FULL TIME. I certainly haven’t been giving it my all in the last few months (really, since we got to Bali), and I’m ready to change that. It never feels great to be sub-par at something you enjoy, and I know I can do better… but the motivation over here is lacking. There are so many wonderful things to take up my day! I can read by the pool! I can go to a million wonderful yoga classes! I can sit at a leisurely lunch (or just have a coconut) with beautiful, inspiring friends! So, coming home and cooking in the heat is proving to be a bit challenging.
Despite the challenge, which I welcome and recognize as a wonderful thing for me to face, I’m excited to be in the kitchen. I love cooking. LOVE it. I’ve actually (seriously) considered moving home ASAP just to be near an oven and my cooking stuff, but I recognize that is a slightly crazy idea and maybe I can just let go for a few months and be HERE. (and here). I can cook with two burners and one wok. I can create things with a tiny fridge and ants everywhere. I can deliver great recipes for you guys despite limited resources. It just takes some creativity. It’s helping me let out the creative Mary that I’ve pushed aside for the last two decades. She’s in there, and I’m realizing that I really want to let her out!
All this to say: please be patient with me, and I promise I’m coming back in a major way! Did this post totally get away from me? Yeah. It definitely did. But, it’s what I’m feeling. I’m being real with you guys, and that’s what you deserve! I’m not a rockstar food blogger (yet) who has it all figured out and lives in a magical villa with three thousand muffin tins at my fingertips. That certainly sounds exciting, but it’s just not my reality (right now). So, we work with what we have! And we (I’m using the royal we here) are grateful for it!
Let’s move on to soup. Enjoy this soup. Make it for a loved one. Make it for yourself. Make it spicy, because that’s what winter calls for (or just life!). xoxoxoxoPrint
Black Pepper Tofu and Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Ginger Lemongrass Broth
- Prep Time: 2 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 17 minutes
- Yield: 3
- 6 cups water*
- 6″ raw ginger, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 8 four-inch pieces of lemongrass
- 1 large jalapeño, sliced (or a few small red chilis, whole)
- salt & pepper
- cooking oil (about 1/3 cup)
- 12 oz firm tofu, cubed to 1/2″ cubes
- 8 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- In a large soup pot add the water, sliced ginger, whole garlic cloves, lemongrass (slightly smashed with the butt of a knife), hot pepper, and 3/4 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes.
- While the broth is cooking, add 1/4″ of cooking oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cut tofu and cook, turning once, until golden and crisped. When done, remove from the oil and toss with 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.
- In the same frying pan, oil discarded, cook the sliced mushrooms (in batches if needed) over medium heat. Leave 1/4″ between the mushrooms while cooking, allowing one side to brown slightly before turning over. Cook both sides until golden.
- To serve, add tofu and mushrooms to broth and enjoy!!
*If you have vegetable stock on hand, feel free to sub any/all of the water. It will definitely increase flavor — but then be careful on how much salt you add! You probably won’t need much salt!